Child in abuse case to be taken off life support

by: Mike Petchenik Updated:

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. —

As Sandy Springs police continue an international manhunt for a babysitter accused of abusing an infant, the boy’s family said Friday they plan to take him off life support.
 
Five-month-old Angel Pantoja was in critical condition after suffering severe head trauma in early October.  Police said they believe his baby sitter, 27-year-old Caris Ayala-Rivas, caused the injury at her Roswell Road apartment.
 
“Like always during the mornings, when I went to my job, I took him to the baby sitter,” his mother Xochitl Carmona said. “After four minutes, the baby sitter called me. She was worried.  She told me the baby doesn't respond, and you come for him. But I never imagined that I could find the baby without breath.”
 
Carmona said she called 911, and the baby was taken to the hospital.  A social worker at Children’s Health Care of Atlanta at Scottish Rite notified police of the baby’s injuries.
 
“My case was so difficult at first,” said Carmona.  “I couldn't be with my baby, because I was on hold at the police station for a long time, (for) six, seven hours. They were asking me a lot of questions.”
 
Police told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik Ayala-Rivas was cooperative at first, but when detectives wanted to question her a second time, they said she and her husband fled, possibly to either Guatemala, El Salvador or Mexico.
 
“If she did that, it’s maybe because she is scared or maybe she is hiding something,” said Carmona.
 
Police told Petchenik once the coroner rules Angel’s death a homicide, they will upgrade the charges against Ayala-Rivas to murder.  They are also looking for her husband, Noe Castillo, on charges he’s harboring a fugitive.

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